New York set up a hotline for police handling mental health cases. Not one officer has called

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A young man hangs out on a street corner in Midtown Manhattan every day outside the entrance of a big chain restaurant. He shadowboxes and talks to himself, and beneath him are poster boards with scrawled conspiracy theories. The restaurant’s manager worries the man could be scaring off customers and calls 911. Should the responding police officer remove the man to a hospital, forcing him if he refuses?

This is a scenario from the training materials for a new 24/7 hotline touted by Mayor Eric Adams and run by New York City’s public hospital system, which offers police officers on-demand guidance on whether to involuntarily hospitalize someone who appears mentally ill. Adams, a former transit cop, announced the hotline last November as part of a controversial directive to expand the police’s authority to perform the removals, pledging that the hotline would be staffed by psychiatrists, social workers, and clinicians who “will provide guidance to police officers who encounter individuals in psychiatric crisis”.

But the number of police officers who have consulted the hotline since it went live nearly half a year ago? Zero, according to public records disclosed last week by NYC Health + Hospitals, the municipal health system, and first reported by Politico.

Read more in the Guardian

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